In 1962 as Palm Beach's north county was starting to grow it was determined that a church was needed there.    Dr. Henry Blackburn who headed the Conference Board of Church Extension had met a young man from North Carolina who had transferred in to the Florida Conference. After an interview Dr. Blackburn supported him and Robert Brittain was chosen to be the founding pastor of that church. At that point there was no worship center and no parsonage. It was his to develop. At first the Brittain family was housed in a motel on Singer Island. While acquainting himself with the Palm Beach Gardens area that had been chosen, the Rev. Brittain was encouraged to find that a Sunday School class taught by Dr. Ed Eissey at Northwood United Methodist Church had some members who had moved north to that new area. An old farmhouse, located behind what is now Promenade Plaza became available to these pioneering families. After cleaning, sprucing up the vegetation and scrubbing this facility, there they held the first worship services on July 1, 1962. 51 attended that first Sunday. There they worshipped and welcomed others until November when they moved to the Cafetorium at Howell Watkins School. That was part of God's plan, for Dr. Eissey was the principal there and it was he who made the move possible.


    Gene Armstrong, owner of a construction company, and his brother, Harold, built the parsonage on Cypress  Street as well as the Chapel which was finished in October of 1964. Members contributed in a myriad of ways to the buildings and furnishings. Even then music was a big part of ministry at Trinity. Verna Downs directed the first choir made up of children of the church. Other members played the piano and then a donated home style organ. Praising   God through music grew. Pastor Brittain heard of an unemployed young organist and tried unsuccessfully to obtain     her services--gratis. She finally acquiesced after being asked if she wouldn't prefer using her God-given musical gifts     for Him rather than letting them lie idle! That began Dixie Thompson's legendary musical direction at Trinity which did lead to a paid staff position. Not only did she encourage and lead the adult choir to attempt fine music, she mentored many youngsters. JoAnn Virgin, Betty Leavitt and Gloria Shuford also had tremendous influence on the youth as they directed groups at various times. Dixie, of course, established and directed the witnessing, traveling, singing group---Yesterday's Today. 


    As Trinity grew, organists were added to the church staff and Dixie concentrated on directing. In the '70's and beyond Eileen Goodwin and Dee Stalcup inspired everyone with their talents, playing the organ that graces the Sanctuary. Jane Wilbrecht followed them and now we have Terrence Dwarika leading worship with the piano and occasionally the organ. Today we are blessed with Joel Evans' direction of the Chancel Choir, while Jennifer Peterson leads our children. 

 

    Early on there was no staff. Members provided all the services from cleaning to lawn maintenance to secretarial help. That began to change in 1966 when the first Fellowship Hall was constructed. With the added space the seeds for our present Trinity Christian School were sown. The highly successful kindergarten began that year. It began with one class but more were added yearly and the school quickly grew into a highly rated learning program. Now housed in the state of the art Erbey Center, the elementary school has added to Trinity's emphasis on quality Christian education. 

    Trinity's third unit was the children's educational wing built in 1970. Pre-school classes meet there today. Easter  of 1974 welcomed worshippers to the new Sanctuary. Both it and Administrative offices were dedicated at that time.  Yet that was where it almost all stopped for in March of 1979 a wildfire blazed in the woods to the north and to the west of Trinity's campus. The wind speed was such that sparks began to fly, igniting more brush. Despite the efforts of the firefighters who quickly arrived at the scene the flames jumped from bush to bush and tree to tree. Other firefighters arrived to assist. The prayer chains were alerted. God's help was solicited. Flames leapt 50 to 60 feet in the air, coming down to the northern and western edges of the church property. Sparks blew across Military Trail, igniting fire in a garage and forcing home owners to hose down their roofs. A veteran firefighter remarked, “That church is going to go. There's no way we can save it.” As it all seemed so hopeless, and then came a sudden change in the direction of the wind. Instead of blowing gustily toward the church buildings from the west, it suddenly shifted and came out of the southwest, blowing the worst of the fire away from the buildings. The flames became manageable; the fire was under control in about thirty minutes.

     Within about two hours the last flames died down although for the next few day’s logs, trees, and brush smoldered. Later a student of wind patterns in our area said that the normal pattern of the afternoon winds is for them to blow from the west and then shift gradually to the northwest, north, northeast, and then pick up the late afternoon breezes coming from the ocean. If the wind had followed that normal pattern and come from the northwest, the huge wall of flames that was on the northern and western edges of Trinity's property would have been pushed toward the buildings and destroyed them. The wind shift was highly unusual. That it lasted just about 30 minutes when the firefighters were able to bring the fire under control and then shifted back to the normal pattern made all realize that it was God's power that brought about "the miraculous wind shift" which preserved Trinity's buildings and enabled Trinity to move ahead for His glory. 

    Moving ahead continued in 1981 when the courtyard was completed with an educational wing and additional offices. In 1988 the nursery wing, kitchen, youth center and new Fellowship Hall were completed just in time for Trinity's first "Night on Broadway" Dinner Theater. The numerous use and programming that all of this has brought about is beyond numerical count. 

    Women's Ministries through United Methodist Women and Women in Christ continue providing the assistance, outreach and mission work through their leadership. Men, too, have their own prayer group as well as Band of Brothers. And we can't forget the Friday crew begun by Dick Goodwin in the '80's which has brought many volunteer hours of repair and assistance around campus through the years. The festivities to which the community is invited are many throughout the year including Vacation Music Camp, the Vacation Bible Camps, Pumpkin Patch, Great Pumpkin Night Out, Easter egg hunts, and special game days. There is something for all ages. 

     Back in the '60's Trinity sent building materials to the Philippines so that our first designated missionary, Curran  W. Spottswood, could construct a building to house a church. He received financial support for five years before Leon and Vickie Reich in Indonesia were added. Today mission support extends outward from Trinity in over 25 directions, locally and globally. Adults, middle school and high school students annually experience short term mission trips. What joy to spread God's love outward from Trinity! Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, started by Trinity's men in 1966, continue, having collected many Bishop's Awards and conferring Eagle Scout status to way over 100 young men. Girl's Brownies and Daisies, Kids Kloset, ongoing support of the Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, holiday food baskets plus the Christmas Tree of Special Wishes which provide for the community's less fortunate, are just a few examples.

    The Community Christian Counseling Center located on our campus has helped innumerable people with problems. Partially supported by this congregation, it has served for thirty years in the name of the Lord. Prayer has undergirded all of our efforts---the prayer chain, prayer groups; prayer vigils at special times--- all keep us connected    to our God who is quick to hear and to support us all.

    So much more could be said about the Bible studies and programs that have equipped disciples within and without Trinity. Our congregational leaders as well as the clergy have brought us into a closer walk with God through  our Lord Jesus Christ and we're grateful. We are grateful, too, for the ministry which has led many into full time Christian service. As we celebrate these 50 years in Palm Beach Gardens we're excited to have reached this Year of Jubilee. We appreciate the past and those who have been a part. That's history. We're celebrating God's gift to us---it's called the present---for today is what we have to work with. As we look forward to the next 50 years we cast a new vision. That is our future! Pray with us, praise with us, and walk with us.